CEO + Co-founder SOLS Shoes City American Fork
It all started with an entrepreneurship class in college, and Liz Reyes never looked back. After graduation, she started a small marketing firm with a friend, then worked in software sales. SaaS led to SOLS Shoes in 2017, which started as a side project. Liz’s intention with SOLS was to help the artisan families she knew, and after two years of pursuing the side project, she slipped on the shoes full time. As a first-generation immigrant born in Mexico, Liz has a passion for supporting each of the more than 65 artisans who handcraft these huaraches with tradition and technique. “Sol” means “sun” in Spanish. With each pair of SOLS, Liz says, “We want our brand to portray that warm feeling when the sun hits your skin.” Liz’s brand has purpose, from the soles to the souls.
GAINING SPEED + CATCHING AIR
We first started selling to friends and family and started an Instagram account. Then, we started to partner with influencers, and our own customers asked if they could hand out business cards for us! It definitely took some time for us to grow; it was not a quick ascension.
FIRST SNOWFALL MAGIC
Getting our first warehouse felt like magic. We operated out of my sister’s house for the first year. Her whole kitchen and dining room were full of bins of shoes for months! Then, we moved into our own first space, and it felt like the first time you go to college and get your first apartment as a “grown up.”
What I’m most proud of is the amount of families and shoe craftsmen and artisans we have been able to hire. We started with one family of six, and we now employ over 65 artisans.
CRASH + BURN
We are currently in the middle of a big face plant moment. I recently got a part-time place in Boston to hang out during spring and summer, and some of our warehouse team announced they were moving out-of-state. So we decided to go with a 3PL to make things easier while I was gone during the summer. Unfortunately, the 3PL doesn’t know our product like we do, and we were so busy that we failed to communicate some key operational moments with them. Ultimately, we decided to take our fulfillment back to our own warehouse this month and are literally moving inventory the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. My poor team is exhausted, but everyone is so supportive and a team player!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Networking is a skill I’ve learned that didn’t come naturally at first. Since going into business, I have been lucky enough to find amazing mentors and other women who will take me to networking events and talk about me when it’s needed. Now, I know that once I get myself to an event, I will thrive and love it!
I asked my right-hand marketing girl what she thinks is the coolest part of our company and her answer was, “The fact that you’re able to intertwine your passion for supporting women, your love for shoes and your own culture into one business is incredible. And not only that, but you’re doing it sustainably. And as a woman. And as a first-gen.”
Friend, auntie, adventure buddy and class clown for sure! I think I’m funnier than I really am.
Working out! I can physically feel myself getting more irritable at work or not being able to think clearly when I haven’t worked out. I also love turning on an audiobook as I cook dinner at night.
I love a good Netflix binge. I also love getting outside. There is just something about being out in nature that reminds you how small your problems really are.
Iceland or Norway! But if we’re talking stateside, I would say any Airbnb with a hot tub in the mountains!
GIVES ME CHILLS
A classic is “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I was a salesperson before this, and I just love the creativity of marketing and sales, and the complexity of humans.
MEETING THE COOL KIDS
McKenzie Bauer from Thread has been the most impactful entrepreneur I have ever met. She understands that for someone with my background, it’s harder to break into these groups and networks, so she is constantly inviting me to be a part of events.
Don’t be afraid to believe in yourself even if no one else believes you. Remember why you started. You picked what you are doing for a reason. Let that be your fuel.